Extraterrestrial Culture Day
National Cream Cheese Brownie Day
If you're looking for an out-of-this-world holiday, go grab your foil hat! It's Extraterrestrial Culture Day, an annual event that takes place each year on the second Tuesday in February.
The origins of this "holiday" began in 2003, when Republican Representative Daniel R. Foley submitted a proposal to the New Mexico legislature to set aside a special day of the year to "celebrate and honor all past, present and future extraterrestrial visitors." Foley, who is from Roswell, said that capitalizing on something that "did or did not happen" decades ago could help the state of New Mexico. Perhaps he was right?
In the summer of 1947, a rancher discovered unidentifiable debris in his sheep pasture outside Roswell, New Mexico. Although officials from the local Air Force base asserted that it was a crashed weather balloon, many people believed it was the remains of an extraterrestrial flying saucer; a series of secret “dummy drops” in New Mexico during the 1950s heightened their suspicions. Nearly 50 years after the story of the mysterious debris broke, the U.S. military issued a report linking the incident to a top-secret atomic espionage project called Project Mogul. Still, many people continue to embrace the UFO theory, and hundreds of curiosity seekers visit Roswell and the crash site every year.
One morning around Independence Day 1947, about 75 miles from the town of Roswell, New Mexico, a rancher named Mac Brazel found something unusual in his sheep pasture: a mess of metallic sticks held together with tape; chunks of plastic and foil reflectors; and scraps of a heavy, glossy, paper-like material. Unable to identify the strange objects, Brazel called Roswell’s sheriff. The sheriff, in turn, called officials at the nearby Roswell Army Air Force base. Soldiers fanned out across Brazel’s field, gathering the mysterious debris and whisking it away in armored trucks.
On July 8, “RAAF Captures Flying Saucer on Ranch in Roswell Region” was the top story in the Roswell Daily Record. But was it true? On July 9, an Air Force official clarified the paper’s report: The alleged “flying saucer,” he said, was only a crashed weather balloon. However, to anyone who had seen the debris (or the newspaper photographs of it), it was clear that whatever this thing was, it was no weather balloon. Some people believed–and still believe–that the crashed vehicle had not come from Earth at all. They argued that the debris in Brazel’s field must have come from an alien spaceship.
These skeptics grew more numerous during the 1950s, when the Air Force conducted a series of secret “dummy drops” over air bases, test ranges and unoccupied fields across New Mexico. These experiments, meant to test ways for pilots to survive falls from high altitudes, sent bandaged, featureless dummies with latex “skin” and aluminum “bones”–dummies that looked an awful lot like space aliens were supposed to–falling from the sky onto the ground, whereupon military vehicles would descend on the landing site to retrieve the “bodies” as quickly as possible. To people who believed the government was covering up the truth about the Roswell landing, these dummy drops seemed just as suspicious. They were convinced that the dummies were actually extraterrestrial creatures who were being kidnapped and experimented on by government scientists.
It turned out that the Army knew more about Brazel’s “flying saucer” than it let on. Since World War II, a group of geophysicists and oceanographers from Columbia University, New York University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod had been working on a top-secret atomic espionage project at New Mexico’s Alamogordo Air Field that they called Project Mogul. Project Mogul used sturdy high-altitude balloons to carry low-frequency sound sensors into the tropopause, a faraway part of the Earth’s atmosphere that acts as a sound channel. In this part of the atmosphere, sound waves can travel for thousands of miles without interference, much like under the ocean. The scientists believed that if they sent microphones into this sound channel, they would be able to eavesdrop on nuclear tests as far away as the Soviet Union.
According to the U.S. military, the debris in Brazel’s field outside Roswell actually belonged to Project Mogul. It was the remains of a 700-foot-long string of neoprene balloons, radar reflectors (for tracking) and sonic equipment that the scientists had launched from the Alamogordo base in June and that had, evidently, crashed in early July 1947. Because the project was highly classified, no one at the Roswell Army Air Field even knew that it existed, and they had no idea what to make of the objects Brazel had found. (In fact, some officials on the base were worried that the wreckage had come from a Russian spy plane or satellite–information that they were understandably reluctant to share with the public.) The “weather balloon” story, flimsy though it was, was the simplest and most plausible explanation they could come up with on short notice. Meanwhile, to protect the scientists’ secret project, no one at Alamogordo could step in and clear up the confusion.
Today, many people continue to believe that the government and the military are covering up the truth about alien landings at and around Roswell. In 1994, the Pentagon declassified most of its files on Project Mogul and the dummy drops, and the federal General Accounting Office produced a report (“Report of Air Force Research Regarding the Roswell Incident”) designed to debunk these rumors. Nevertheless, there are still people who subscribe to the UFO theory, and hundreds of thousands of curiosity seekers visit Roswell and the crash site every year, hoping to find out the truth for themselves.
National Cream Cheese Brownie Day
If you love brownie and cream cheese then today is your day, with the combination of the two swirled in for National Cream Cheese Brownie Day. This decadent bar that is a rich moist cake consistency cut in squares swirled in with cream cheese gives this brownie a fun look, and a creamy taste.
Brownies date back to the 1800's and was first documented in Boston Cooking School Cook in 1906. When brownies were first created they contained far less chocolate, then we use now. At that time there was no real variation to the brownie as we have today.
Currently brownies come in a variety of flavors such as: brownie with walnuts, caramel, peanut butter, cherries, peppermint and of course of our favorite one of the day cream cheese in honor of National Cream Cheese Day.
The combination of the cream cheese and brownie gives an added richness to the brownie, and the cream cheese kicks it up a notch with the tangy bite cream cheese flavor.
The collaboration of the two flavors of chocolate and cream makes this a sweet heavenly dessert; not to mention the colors of brown and off white swirled in as a design gives the brownie an elegant flair.
Enjoy National Cream Cheese Brownie Day with the recipe below. Go ahead and make your family, this special treat in honor of this day.
Plimsoll Day is set aside to remember Samuel Plimsoll, a member of the English Parliament back in the day who championed sailors' safety while traveling the world's waterways in crammed-full ships. He was instrumental in the amendment of Britain's Merchant Shipping Act, which came about in response to the then-national problem of dangerously overloaded ships. Plimsoll's bill, dubbed the Unseaworthy Ships Bill, passed in 1876, and required that a mark be present on a ship's hull to indicate the waterline at which maximum cargo capacity was reached for the vessel.
Ah, but politics is a wily profession, is it not? For the law merely required that said line - which came to be known as the Plimsoll Line, or the Plimsoll Mark, - be painted on the boat. It did not say the line had to be an accurate representation of the safe waterline position for the ship's cargo load. That little stipulation didn't make it's way into law until 1894.
Today, the Plimsoll Line is universally recognized, and is actually several lines - each one indicating the safe waterline mark in relation to both cargo type and water type (salinity, temperature, ocean region, and season):
Now, back to my initial question: What's a Plimsoll? It's a shoe with a canvas upper and a rubber sole. Modern Plimsoll shoes - aka sneakers - look similar.
But which came first: the sneaker or the man? Hmmm. You tell me. See, the sneaker in question was originally called a "sand shoe," invented for beachwear by the Liverpool Rubber Company in the 1830's. It wasn't until sometime after the Plimsoll Line was created in 1876 that the distinctive footwear came to be known as a Plimsoll Shoe (since the rubber band between the upper part of the shoe and its sole resembled the Plimsoll Line on a ship's hull). So one could logically conclude that the shoe came first. But, add to the mix that Samuel Plimsoll was born in 1824, which predates both the shoe and the legislation, and you're back to the whole chicken vs. egg conundrum all over again.
Safer Internet Day
Safer Internet Day (SID) aims to promote safe and responsible use of internet and mobile phones and create awareness among public about how to stay protected online. This campaign was started by Insafe network in February 2004 as a part of European SafeBorders project and later became an annual landmark event all over the globe. Today Insafe consists of almost 30 safer Internet centers and committees worldwide and carries out global awareness programs, helplines, hotlines and youth panels in more than 90 countries.
How safe are we while browsing the internet? It is very difficult to answer because of the increasing web threats and cyberbullying. To protect the young people and children from using the harmful and illegal content online, Election commission has established Safer Internet programme in 1999, under the control of Directorate General for Information. Many public organizations and educational institutions across European Union member states offered their support to this campaign largely and later on in the year 2004, Insafe was launched to monitor the activities of Safer Internet programme and promote the safety online campaigns.
Safer Internet Day is to encourage users to connect respectfully with each other and make them feel responsible for their actions online. The theme of this day emphasizes users’ rights and responsibilities towards online safety and point outs the role of adults in educating the children. To extend your support for Safer Internet Day,
- Register yourself with Insafe and obtain SID resource kits.
- Be a part of this campaign and try to attend or organize an event on internet security.
- Spread the word and organize campaigns in schools, colleges, offices etc.
- Explain children and youngsters about the internet and its safety use.
Umbrella Day takes place on February 10. The day honors the famous invention to protect against rain or sunlight. An umbrella or parasol is a canopy designed to protect against rain or sunlight. The word parasol usually refers to an item designed to protect from the sun; umbrella refers to a device more suited to protect from rain.
Umbrellas are now a consumer product with a large global market. Umbrellas continue to be actively developed. In the US, so many umbrella-related patents are being filed that the U.S. Patent Office employs four full-time examiners to assess them. As of 2008, the office registered three thousand active patents on umbrella-related inventions.
The basic umbrella was invented over four thousand years ago. We have seen evidence of umbrellas in the ancient art and artifacts of Egypt, Assyria, Greece, and China.
These ancient umbrellas or parasols, were first designed to provide shade from the sun. The Chinese were the first to waterproof their umbrellas for use as rain protection. They waxed and lacquered their paper parasols in order to use them for rain.
The word "umbrella" comes from the Latin root word "umbra", meaning shade or shadow. Starting in the 16th century the umbrella became popular to the western world, especially in the rainy weather of northern Europe. At first it was considered only an accessory suitable for women. Then the Persian traveler and writer, Jonas Hanway (1712-86), carried and used an umbrella publicly in England for thirty years, he popularized umbrella use among men. English gentleman often referred to their umbrellas as a "Hanway."
The first all umbrella shop was called "James Smith and Sons". The shop opened in 1830, and is still located at 53 New Oxford Street in London, England.
The early European umbrellas were made of wood or whalebone and covered with alpaca or oiled canvas. The artisans made the curved handles for the umbrellas out of hard woods like ebony, and were well paid for their efforts.
In 1852, Samuel Fox invented the steel ribbed umbrella design. Fox also founded the "English Steels Company", and claimed to have invented the steel ribbed umbrella as a way of using up stocks of farthingale stays, steel stays used in women's corsets. After that, compact collapsible umbrellas were the next major technical innovation in umbrella manufacture, over a century later.